Off-Broadway's Underneath the Lintel, which has persevered through thick and thin at the Soho Playhouse since its first preview Oct. 13, 2001, has extended for a second time, until June 30.
David Chandler continues to star in the one-man show. He began work on Jan. 15, replacing T. Ryder Smith.
Chandler's Broadway credits include Lost in Yonkers and The American Clock, and he's worked at several Off-Broadway venues, including New York Theatre Workshop and the Vineyard.
Underneath the Lintel, which officially opened Oct. 23, never had an actual closing date. Still, had the Off-Broadway show not received good reviews and positive word of mouth (the show is a kind of decades-spanning investigation), it might have closed by now. Producers Scott Morfee, Dana Matthow and Tom Wirtshafter have resolutely stood by the show even while suffering through a winter slump exacerbated by the economic fallout of Sept. 11.
Underneath the Lintel, by Glen Berger and directed by Randy White, tells of a librarian who notices that a book left in the return slot is 113 years overdue. The book would have racked up (according Playbill On-Line's calculations, made at 10 cents a day for roughly 365 days per year for 123 years) approximately $4,489.50 in late fees, but that's of less interest to the protagonist than the story behind its disappearance. He travels to various international cities to piece together the narrative. As the Shirley Herz office press release puts it, the librarian then "rents stage time to present impressive evidence...that many years ago, underneath a lintel, one man told another man to 'shove off.'" Webster's Dictionary defines a lintel as "a horizontal architectural member spanning and usually carrying the load above an opening" — or, a doorway or threshold.
Playwright Berger is also author of the much-produced Great Men of Science Nos. 21 & 22, a Best Play Ovation Award-winner for its L.A. mounting. Canadian-born director White founded the Live Bait Theatre in Sackville, NB.
For tickets ($40) and information on Underneath the Lintel at the Soho Playhouse, 15 Vandam St., call (212) 239-6200.
—By Robert Simonson